I’m fairly certain that we’re already in or are quickly rounding bases into the second trimester, which is exciting for all the obvious reasons. Particularly as it relates to my little blog and to the “runner” part of me, rounding second has been super exciting because it has been within the past few weeks that I’ve begun to feel more like myself and that, namely, going for a run has become part of my routine again. And let me tell you– it is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
I alluded to this in an earlier post, but some of my most cherished memories from my running have come from the miles I logged when I was pregnant with A between 2010-11. Sure, running while pregnant and having to deal with the fun things like ever-growing knockers (which always sound like a lot of fun until it actually happens, and then it’s just a huge pain in the ass), an ever-growing belly that arrives at places before the rest of you does, or, at the time, running so many pregnant miles during a Chicago winter and having to contend with snow and ice with a body that was no longer exclusively mine… but … but … I’ll tell you why it was awesome.
Running while pregnant was awesome because it was one of the few times in my running tenure wherein I wasn’t training for something so much as I was just running for the hell of running. I knew I’d get bigger, and heavier, and slower, and that of course, all those challenges would affect my running over the subsequent months of my pregnancy.
This is the thing, though — I didn’t care.
Every day, I found myself a little more pregnant than I was the day before, so whatever I could do that day–if it were a 4 mile run at 9 minute miles or a 3 mile run at 13 minute miles in ankle-deep snow–they were all victories. They were all like little milestones, uncharted territory into which I had never yet ventured, and the feeling of excitement and joy and, let’s be honest, pride, was pretty cool and were feelings I hadn’t really experienced in several years since getting into marathoning back in ’07.
Not many of my friends have children, especially my female runner friends, so this concept might be a little hard to grasp. Both with A and now, with kiddo dos, running while pregnant, and being able to celebrate the sheer fact that I feel well enough to do it, makes me think a lot about when I was marathon training for the first time. Every weekend, a long run became a new milestone. I had never before run 10 miles… and then suddenly, I did. I had never before run a half marathon… and then suddenly, it happened. I wouldn’t even drive 20 miles if I didn’t have to (god, I sound like my father), but guess what? I ran the damn thing. Willingly.
Even though I’ve been pregnant before, the novelty of being able to run while pregnant with kiddo dos hasn’t worn off, nor do I think it really will. Pregnancy is such a cool and weird-as-hell process. You really have no idea how you’re going to feel each day, regardless of how you felt with previous pregnancies (if you had any) or even how you felt just the day before. Just because I ran through almost all of my pregnancy with A doesn’t mean that I think I’ll be able to do the same with kiddo dos. I would absolutely love to, don’t get me wrong, but these days, I’m running without expectations… and it’s just lovely.
If, on a day that I penciled in a run, I wake up and feel like a million bucks, you better believe that I’m that girl running down the streets or trails here with the biggest shit-eating grin on my face that I’m feeling well enough to be able to run.
And if the contrast happens, if I wake up and feel like ass on a day that I would have liked to run, then no matter. I’ll try again tomorrow. NBD.
While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that everyone get pregnant just so they could try to run through their pregnancy (because wtf, who would ever say that?), I would say that for me at least, it was nice back in 2010-11 and then again, in 2015, to have this little phase in my running that has been punctuated less by training for a killer marathon PR or distance record and more by just simply running without expectations, just running for the hell of running, just running because it makes me feel normal. I think some people achieve this phase by not signing up for an event for a while or by not wearing a watch and simply running by feel or by doing something outside the same ol’ routine, like switching from roads to trails or vice-versa. To each her own. At the end of the day, even though I know the postpartum comeback will be arduous, it is pretty refreshing to just run (and hopefully soon, race!) simply because running rocks, regardless.